By Brian Roe, Sports Writer
The ACU men’s tennis team came up empty last weekend in its bid to send a singles player or doubles team to the ITA Omni Hotels national championship tournament.
Evan Puglia and his partner Kirk O’Connor were one of the doubles teams that advanced to the third round, as well as singles players Trent Broach and Clayton Mor-gan. None of the individuals or teams ad-vanced farther than that at the tournament, played on the Drury University Campus.
“There were some tough teams in Springfield because it was the regional tournament, but we played well even though we were shorthanded,” Puglia said.
Short-handed is an understatement. Top men’s player Julien Curatella was the Central regional champion last fall and had hoped to compete to defend his title this year; however, a wrist injury has held him out of play so far this season. Curatella is arguably one of the best players in the LSC when heal-thy. Other players, including senior Sal Taweel, were unable to make the trip to Springfield as well.
Broach had a first-round bye and then defeated Matt McCord of Rock-hurst (Mo.) be-fore falling to Pablo Hours of Incarnate Word. Morgan defeated David Seaton of St. Edward’s in the first round , then beat Olaf Graham of East Central (Okla.) in round two. How-ever, he fell to Mouchine Guet-tabi of UCO in the third round.
On the doubles side, O’Connor and Puglia defeated Drury’s team of Lianes-Tajta in the first round before beating MSU’s Gillen-Vidal team in round two. Incarnate Word’s team of Funari-Wilke knocked O’Connor and Puglia out with a third round win.
The next tournament for the men’s team is the UT-Arlington Invitational the weekend of Oct. 11.